MIAMI, Fl. — Video showing a caged tiger at a high school prom in Florida went viral over the weekend, prompting backlash for the school district.
WLPG reports the exotic animal was rolled into the Doubletree Hotel Miami Airport and Convention Center Friday for the event. The theme was ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’
Cell phone video posted by parent Mari-Cris Castellanos shows the tiger pacing the cage as performers use fire to entertain the graduating class. More photos show different animal on scene like birds used as centerpieces and a parrot, all provided by a local licensed facility.
“The tiger was in distress,” said Castellanos. “The reason he’s pacing up and down, up and down, with tail going and his ears all folded back is showing you distress.”
The school said there was also a lemur, two macaws and an African fennec fox at the event.
In a written statement over the weekend, a spokesperson for Christopher Columbus High School said:
“The tiger, which was displayed for a few minutes in a cage, was never harmed or in danger, was not forced to perform and was always accompanied by his handlers…and for the great majority of the time was laying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience.”
Monday, the school’s principal released a statement saying he regrets using the tiger at the event.
“Upon reflection, we regret the decision to have live animals at our prom,” David Pugh said. “This decision in no way reflects the Marist values, teachings of the Catholic Church and/or the accomplishments of our young and that of our distinguished alumni. We remain proud of the work we do in our community by raising awareness for pediatric cancer, autism and our homeless veterans, to name a few.”